As the University of California, Merced prepares to enter its 10th academic year this fall, student interest has risen as the university received the highest number of undergraduate applications since its establishment in 2005.
With a 1.6 percent increase from the 2013-2014 academic year, UC Merced received 17,469 applicants for the 2014-2015 school year according to admissions data from the UC Office of the President. While the number of applicants has increased, the distribution of students from various areas in California has remained relatively the same with 28.9 percent hailing from the Los Angeles area, 25.1 percent from the San Francisco Bay Area and 21.8 percent from the Central Valley. While the increase of applicants is a significant step forward for the University, the space limitations of the campus cap the admission of new students at 165 making the total student body around 6,360.
“We’ve strategically and decisively slowed our enrollment growth until our physical space can keep up with the continued interest in the campus” said Chancellor Dorothy Leland.
The university is making a difference in the social landscape of Californian society as its student population is composed of 57 percent of students that come from a low-income household and 65 percent of students whose parents did not receive a degree from a four year institution. With the increase in applicants, the University is excepting a more academically talented and diverse student population according to Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management J. Michael Thompson. By 2020, UC Merced aims to enroll 10,000 students.
“Our growth reflects strong demand and increasing awareness of UC Merced as an excellent choice for students throughout the state who seek a UC-quality education in a small campus environment” said Chancellor Leland.
As the University’s makes strides in enrollment, it is also making the necessary changes to permit increased student enrollment. This fall the Science and Engineering Building 2 is on track to open and construction of the Classroom and Office Building 2 is slated to commence for a 2016 opening. Increased class and lecture space will also be available to students as the Student Services Building will also open this fall.